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Basics of child support arrangements during a divorce

Pennsylvania parents may be cognizant of the social and psychological effects that divorce may have on children. However, the economic effects of a divorce may also affect children in a significant way. Child support laws are intended to make the transition easier on children, in large part by maintaining the standard of living the children experienced while the marriage was intact.

Parents are obligated to support their children. Dissolving a marriage does not mitigate this responsibility for either parent. Child support laws contain guidelines assuring that children are provided life's necessities, such as food, shelter, clothing, medical care and education, without interruption. Additional support may be required to cover child care, camp attendance and extracurricular activities.

Some studies show that paying child support brings parents into closer relationships with their children. In almost 90 percent of cases where fathers share custody of a child with their ex-spouse, the fathers pay child support, whereas 45 percent of fathers lacking custody or visitation rights pay support, reportedly.

Calculating child support is based on each parent's income and the needs of the children. Because each case presents unique circumstances, the court makes determinations regarding child support orders on a case-by-case basis, provided that the divorcing parents and their respective legal representatives cannot come to an agreement on their own accord. Many Pennsylvania couples considering divorce retain the representation and counsel of a family law attorney to help protect their rights in regard to matters like child support.

For example, the family law attorney may offer insight into how child support may be structured to meet the court's requirements while remaining consistent with the parent's capacity to pay. Due to the fact that child support negotiations can be exceedingly complex and adversarial, the attorney may help ensure not only that the parent's rights remain inviolate but that the parent's interests are advocated as well.

Source: Divorce Support, "Child Support", September 23, 2014

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